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Teacher punishes kid because of his religious beliefs

Rebecca Bracken is a news and views writer.






Teacher 'banishes' 7-year-old after forcing him to admit he doesn't believe in God or go to church

An Indiana teacher at Forest Park Elementary School is under fire for keeping a 7-year-old segregated from the rest of the class for three days after getting the kid to admit he doesn’t believe in God.

Yes, you read that right. Yes, it sounds really terrible.

The kid's parents are suing the Fort Wayne, Indiana school district for the child's "banishment" as the suit calls it, which lasted for three days.

The Washington Post has published a copy of the lawsuit and the details, if proven, should bother anyone who believes in religious freedom and the separation of church and state in the United States.

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The story goes like this. The kid, who is identified in the suit by the initials A. B., was out on the playground with his friends when he told them that he didn't believe in God and didn't go to church. The teacher, Michelle Meyer heard about the boy's statements later and proceeded to interrogate him.

"Ms. Meyer asked A.B. if he had told the girl that he did not believe in God and A.B. said he had and asked what he had done wrong," the suit says. "Ms. Meyer asked A.B. if he went to church, whether his family went to church, and whether his mother knew how he felt about God… She also asked A.B. if he believed that maybe God exists."

Once the boy admitted his family's religious beliefs, the teacher told the boy he couldn't interact with any of the other kids, even making him sit by himself at lunch for the next three days.

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If singling out the kid for ridicule doesn't sound cruel enough, the teacher went farther still and sent the little boy to speak to another adult at the school, which according to the suit, "reinforced his feeling that he had done something very wrong."

What a horrible excuse for a teacher, a Christian and a human being this Ms. Meyer is, if these allegations are true. The school district certainly isn't denying any of it.

Ms. Meyer, let's get a few things straight.

First, you are a public school teacher. There's no God in public school. You are not a member of the clergy; you are a servant of the government entrusted to give students a secular education. If you don't have enough self-control to know when your fervent religious beliefs are appropriate and when they’re not, you have no place in a classroom. Go work at the church.

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Second, a 7-year-old kid doesn't really have religious beliefs, his family does. A kid doesn't choose whether his parents worship Allah or Joseph Smith, so why don't you preach at them and pick on someone your own size?

Third, psychologists say social isolation at school is a form of bullying. Not something a teacher should be involved in with a 7-year-old baby who needs guidance and nurturing rather than the hysterical judgement of some church lady run amok.

Finally, it doesn't take a religious scholar to know that Jesus probably wouldn't be that impressed with a teacher bullying a little boy.

Here's hoping the family wins this lawsuit and sends a message once and for all to Ms. Meyer and teachers like her who twist and use their authority over children to indoctrinate them into the church. That time is probably much better spent on math.

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